Black Country, New Road - Ants From Up There

Regular price $ 33.99

When London combo Black Country, New Road debuted in February 2021, comparisons to bands like the Fall and Slint were feverishly applied to their intriguing tangle of post-rock sprawl and jazz-folk intimacy, which resembled little else on the contemporary indie landscape. The seven-piece band even notched a Mercury Prize nomination for their effort while somehow managing to produce a follow-up exactly one year later. Ants from Up There is that record, and it's an impressive one, rife with forward momentum but preempted by its own self-mythology. While the critical focus ought to remain solely on the record, it is worth noting that frontman and creative lynchpin Isaac Wood suddenly quit the group just days before its release. For a band so preloaded with hype, such an attention-grabbing move might seem like a brilliant PR stunt if it weren't so sad. Ants from Up There is a significant leap forward for the group, with a more nuanced feel, better songwriting, and all sorts of little creative choices that keep it consistently interesting. While jagged, wryly delivered post-punk is having a heyday in the U.K., it's been a while since indie rock went in the direction Black Country is taking it. Tonally, they share some elements with contemporaries like Squid or their pals Black Midi, but their particular mash-up of ideas harkens back to certain corners of the 1990s when avant jazz collided with smartly written guitar pop and world music. With its sprightly fiddle, sax, and piano figures, the ecstatic "Chaos Space Marine" feels like something that could have appeared on an old Rykodisc compilation. The eclectic "Concorde" is somehow cozy and sprawling in equal measure, with Wood doling out his impressionistic verses over the band's increasingly melodic arrangements. Songs drift into long, lonesome passages based around a single repeating motif only to combust in a caterwauling flare of ragged glory. The band seems to play as a single multi-armed unit, and yet Wood's tortured voice is at the very center of their palette. Black Country made a strong impression on their debut, but things become much more interesting with Ants from Up There. Given the drama surrounding its release, the question now becomes: can the group survive it?

Intro
Chaos Space Marine
Concorde
Bread Song
Good Will Hunting
Haldern
Mark's Theme
The Place Where He Inserted The Blade
Snow Globes
Basketball Shoes